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Old 2012-07-05, 10:13   #1
davieddy
 
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Default Musings on the Higgs boson

That particles have a constant (rest) mass is well understood
and ridiculously well established.

If you were a 1 gram particle, why would you need an omnipresent god to remind you of that at all times?

viz a viz the "treacle" analogy, are popularists trying to take us back from Newton/Gallileo to Aristotle?

Does the Higgs help explain why the masses of particles are what they are?

David
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Old 2012-07-05, 10:25   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
That particles have a constant (rest) mass is well understood
and ridiculously well established.
Yes, subject to the constraints imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
If you were a 1 gram particle, why would you need an omnipresent god to remind you of that at all times?
Non-sequitur
Quote:
Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
viz a viz the "treacle" analogy, are popularists trying to take us back from Newton/Gallileo to Aristotle?
Not in my opinion.
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Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
Does the Higgs help explain why the masses of particles are what they are?
Yes.

To be a little more precise, it helps explains why massive fundmental particles such as leptons, quarks and the W and Z bosons have mass. Some other particles, such as the photon are massless because they don't couple to the Higgs --- the latter is electrically neutral and feels only the weak interaction; the former doesn't undergo weak interactions. The W and Z bosons do interact weakly and so gain mass through their interactions with the H boson. Some composite particles, including hadrons such as the proton, also gain mass from the binding energy of their constituents.
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Old 2012-07-05, 13:41   #3
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I'm interested about the Higgs field and relativity's M={M_0}\over{\sqrt{1-\over{v^2}{c^2}}} from what the higgs field appears to do could we not figure out how dense the higgs particles in the field are ?
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Old 2012-07-05, 14:17   #4
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My understanding is that:

1) elementary particles with mass get that mass through interactions with the Higgs field,

2) the Higgs boson is the intermediary that couples such particles with the Higgs field. The latter role is analogous to the role of W and Z bosons in transmitting the weak nuclear force between particles, except that in the Higgs case it's between a field and a particle, not between two particles.

Is this correct according to the Standard Model?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2012-07-05 at 14:20
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Old 2012-07-05, 15:34   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
My understanding is that:

1) elementary particles with mass get that mass through interactions with the Higgs field,

2) the Higgs boson is the intermediary that couples such particles with the Higgs field. The latter role is analogous to the role of W and Z bosons in transmitting the weak nuclear force between particles, except that in the Higgs case it's between a field and a particle, not between two particles.

Is this correct according to the Standard Model?
I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say.

In quantum field theory a particle is a particular (pun intended) excitation of a field. So a photon is an excitation of the quantum electromagnetic field. The EM field is but a component of the electroweak field; excitations of the weak components are the W and Z bosons, the Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field, and so on.

Consequently, everything is an interaction between fields and their excitations. You can't really distinguish between the two. It's comparable with the well known wave/particle duality.
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Old 2012-07-05, 16:50   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
My understanding is that:

1) elementary particles with mass get that mass through interactions with the Higgs field,

2) the Higgs boson is the intermediary that couples such particles with the Higgs field. The latter role is analogous to the role of W and Z bosons in transmitting the weak nuclear force between particles, except that in the Higgs case it's between a field and a particle, not between two particles.

Is this correct according to the Standard Model?
1) Yes. Explicit mass terms from the basic field equations are dropped when constructing the SM lagrangian, and then effective masses, i.e., new terms that have the same form as the explicit mass terms, arise as the result of the interaction term between the Higgs field and the other SM particles. This is even true for the Higgs itself, which gains mass through self-interaction (a tricky business).

2) Roughly. It's more correct to say that virtual Higgs particles mediate the mass-inducing interaction between the static Higgs field and the particles that move through it. The on-shell Higgs particles that may have been seen at the LHC are the real (non-virtual) excitations of that same static field. It's exactly analogous to saying that if you move a macroscopic object with an electric charge near a magnet, virtual photons from the magnetic field are responsible for mediating the force that deflects the current.
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Old 2012-07-05, 19:08   #7
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I'm not sure how I feel about the media politicizing even this field (pun un-tended), but my sister sent me this NYT piece on the discovery which uses an amusing analogy to describe the Higgs mechanism:
Quote:
According to the Standard Model, the Higgs boson is the only manifestation of an invisible force field, a cosmic molasses that permeates space and imbues elementary particles with mass. Particles wading through the field gain heft the way a bill going through Congress attracts riders and amendments, becoming ever more ponderous.
Does this mean the Supreme Court gets to vote 5-4 at some point as to whether the particle really exists or not?

Definitely less annoying than that G*d particle nonsense, though.
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Old 2012-07-05, 19:41   #8
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Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
I'm not sure how I feel about the media politicizing even this field (pun un-tended), but my sister sent me this NYT piece on the discovery which uses an amusing analogy to describe the Higgs mechanism:

Does this mean the Supreme Court gets to vote 5-4 at some point as to whether the particle really exists or not?

Definitely less annoying than that G*d particle nonsense, though.
Agreed! Leon Lederman is a terrific experimental physicist, with a great nose for choosing the right people to work with and the right experiments to do. His contributions have been fundamental. But he blew it because he lacked the courage of his convictions when it came time to negotiate the title of his book with some know-nothing editors at Dell. And since that time, particle physicists have been far too weak-kneed with the press about insisting that this name be dropped.
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Old 2012-07-05, 19:43   #9
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I gotta say, that IMSA idea of his was pretty good.
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Old 2012-07-05, 21:04   #10
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THX for your hasty reply.
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Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Yes, subject to the constraints imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Is that a reference to shortlived particles?
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Non-sequitur
It was a question not a deduction
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Not in my opinion.
But why treacle/molasses?
What has viscosity got to do with inertia?
Quote:
Yes.
To be a little more precise, it helps explains why massive fundmental particles such as leptons, quarks and the W and Z bosons have mass. Some other particles, such as the photon are massless because they don't couple to the Higgs --- the latter is electrically neutral and feels only the weak interaction; the former doesn't undergo weak interactions. The W and Z bosons do interact weakly and so gain mass through their interactions with the H boson. Some composite particles, including hadrons such as the proton, also gain mass from the binding energy of their constituents.
I meant deriving the many experimental constants which are currently just "injected" into the SM.

David
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Old 2012-07-05, 22:00   #11
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Quote:
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Is that a reference to shortlived particles?
("It" being the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.)

It's a reference to all particles. Energy and time are conjugate quantities and so to measure energy to arbitrarily great precision takes an arbitrarily long time. And, of course, E=mc^2, so measuring rest mass is also constrained by how long you are prepared to wait for an answer.

The E-t version of the HUP has been very well measured at energies throughout the range 1ev - 10GeV and quite possibly further.
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